Welcome to your new and exciting life as a licensed real estate agent! As I'm sure you've already been told, it's a great way to make a living while still having time to actually enjoy your life.
But getting started as a brand new agent can be a little intimidating. To make enough income, you have to close enough deals. And to close deals, you need clients. And to get clients, you first need to generate leads. Lots and lots of leads.
So that's what we'll be covering today: 5 ways to generate leads as a newly licensed agent.
1) Start with the people you know.
The best starting point for any new real estate agent is with the people you already know. A few supportive friends or family members will hopefully provide your first few transactions, giving you the experience and credibility to earn more clients.
But don't limit yourself to just family and close friends. Add as many people as you can to your database—your past coworkers, the woman who cuts your hair, the people who run the dry cleaners, your kids' teachers. Literally anyone you know and can get in touch with.
It doesn't matter if these people don't have any upcoming plans to buy or sell. Because, chances are, they know someone who is ready to move.
What you're doing here is building up your database of people, or your sphere of influence—the people you will add to your email list, to whom you will send valuable content on a regular basis. Over time, they will see how knowledgable you are about the local real estate market, and they will give you even more referrals. And one day, further down the line, some of these people will become your clients.
So start spreading the word to everyone you know. Whether you reach out via email, by phone, or in person, you'll want to say something like this:
Hi, I hope you are doing well. I wanted to let you know that I recently became a licensed real estate agent! With your permission, I would love to send you my weekly e-newsletter. It will keep you informed on the local real estate market, as well as helpful tips for homeowners and fun things happening around town. And if you know anyone looking to buy or sell a home, please send them my way! I really appreciate your support!
2) Use content marketing to earn trust—and referrals!
As a new real estate agent, you need to prove to your audience that you know how to find homes in a low-inventory market, how to help buyers submit a winning offer, and how to get the best price for a listing.
You could just type up those bullet points in an email and click send—but why should anyone believe you? And why would they want to read an email that's basically just a boring, boastful advertisement?
To get your audience to actually read your emails, they need to be something that is interesting and valuable to the consumer. When you provide value, you earn trust. Content marketing is all about demonstrating your expertise, providing value, and earning the trust of your audience.
Not sure where to start? One of the best ways to provide value and demonstrate your expertise is to provide a weekly local real estate market report. Pull the same couple of statistics at the same time every week, and figure out an engaging way to present them in your weekly email. You could create candid videos of yourself explaining the stats, like this video by broker Ara Mamourian, or you could follow West + Main's lead and create beautiful infographics.
Just remember to include a call-to-action somewhere in your email: "Do you know anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the area? Reply to this email to let me know!"
3) Leverage brokerage/team-generated leads.
If you haven't settled under a brokerage yet, take some time to research whether a national or local (boutique) brokerage would be best for you. Keep in mind that local brokerages will have fewer agents, which means less competition for broker-generated leads.
Many new agents choose to begin their careers by joining a team. On a real estate team, you'll have an experienced agent as your leader who will coach you in best practices. The team will already have an established process for getting leads, and team-generated leads will be fairly distributed among you and the other agents on the team. Just keep in mind that you'll be splitting commissions with other agents on the team who are involved in each deal.
Tip: Before you join a real estate team, ask how they distribute leads (round robin, price range, shark tank, lead ponds, etc.) and how many leads you could expect to receive each month.
4) Network like it's your job.
Now that you're a real estate agent, meeting new people actually is kind of your job. Because the more people you meet, the more leads you get to add to your database. So make it a priority to meet people. Here are some ideas for you:
- Volunteer for an organization that's close to your heart
- Join your local chamber of commerce and attend events
- Attend events hosted by your local Association of REALTORS®. (Meeting other realtors is important, too! Not only can they be great mentors, but they might be wiling to send you buyer leads or listings that are below their desired price range.)
- Talk to strangers every chance you get
- Sign up for classes (group workouts, art class, dance class, etc.)
- Look on Meetup or Facebook for local hobby groups (book club, group hikes, etc.)
5) Invest in the right technology
A customer relationship management system (CRM) is a platform for storing and organizing all of your contacts. CRMs range from simple databases to robust all-in-one platforms. Some CRMs can be used across all industries, while others are designed specifically for real estate. Many of the more robust real estate CRMs include tools for lead generation, lead follow-up, marketing automation, and transaction management.
You'll also want an IDX website, which allows you to have a listings page where people can search for homes directly on your website. You should have a lead capture form on your website that people must fill out so they can "log in" to your listings page, created saved searches, and select their favorite properties.
Many of the national brokerages have their own CRM that they provide to their agents. When you're just starting out, the broker-provided CRM might be all you need. But as your business grows, you might want to start shopping around for third-party CRMs that offer more scalability.
If you join a team, they'll likely already have a CRM the entire team uses. As part of your interview process, ask them which CRM they use, then do your own research to see if it seems like something you'll be happy using.
You'll be leaning heavily on technology, so make sure you have a great tech stack by your side.
Related: 6 Ways A Real Estate CRM Will Transform Your Business
The most important thing to understand about lead generation
A quick Google search will provide you with thousands of ideas for real estate lead generation—ideas for buying leads through Zillow, ideas for PPC, ideas for blogging to attract leads, and on and on.
But the most important thing to understand about lead generation is that the best, most high quality leads will come from your existing relationships. The majority of your deals (about 89%) will come from repeat and referral business. Relationships are the key to real estate success.
So yes, take advantage of the online leads you can find, but remember to put most of your focus into building meaningful relationships with the people you already know.